The government said it was “appalled” by a missile attack launched against civilians fleeing war in Ukraine. Russia may have committed another war crime by targeting people fleeing a train station in eastern Ukraine, the defense secretary has said.
Ben Wallace vowed to “do everything” to ensure Vladimir Putin’s failure in Ukraine and confirmed Britain would send Mastiff armored vehicles to help in the fight against the Russian president’s forces. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said at least 30 people were killed in the attack on the crowded Kramatorsk train station which was an evacuation point for civilians.
A hundred more people were injured, Zelensky said, accusing Russia of “unbounded evil”. The Kremlin denied targeting the station.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said she was “appalled” by the reports, adding: “The targeting of civilians is a war crime. We will hold Russia and Putin to account. Mr Wallace, visiting Romania for interviews said the strike was a repeat of the Russian president and his generals targeting civilians.
Speaking at a press conference in Constanta, he said: “Not far away this morning, in a place called Kramatorsk, what appears to be Russian missiles hit civilians queuing for trains to look for a safer place of war. Hitting civilians and critical infrastructure is a war crime. They were precision missiles aimed at people seeking humanitarian shelter.
Mr Wallace said sanctions against Russia must not be lifted to allow Mr Putin to return to “his superyachts and his normalcy. He added: “Whatever happens in Ukraine, we must not let the international community forget about it. What Putin is doing here today is creating his own cage around himself.
Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office said about 4,000 civilians were in and around the Kramatorsk train station, mostly women and children. The strike came as Moscow backed away from its attempt to encircle the capital kyiv and instead tried to take eastern Ukraine.
Pressed whether he thinks the attack on the station was a war crime, Mr Wallace told the press conference that evidence would be gathered to prove the answer, but added: ‘The circumstantial evidence absolutely indicates that ‘a series of war crimes are being committed by Russia.’
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